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The Executive’s Guide to Quantum Cryptography: Security in a Post-Quantum World

The Executive’s Guide to Quantum Cryptography: Security in a Post-Quantum World

Arthur Herman

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INTRODUCTION

CEOs and CIOs are accountable for protecting their company, their investors, their customers, and their employees from cyber-threats that endanger the company’s private information and financial well-being.

Today the most serious of these is the threat to the integrity and confidentiality of data and information that are vital to a company’s success. This does not come only from current cyber-attacks and hackers, which according to 2018 estimates by cyber-research firm Accenture, cost organizations globally an average of $13 million a year. It also includes the future threat posed by quantum computers, which will render public-key cryptographic systems helpless and enable competitors, adversaries, and possibly foreign entities to steal a company’s most precious information without leaving a trace behind.

In October 2018, global research and advisory firm Gartner elevated the quantum computer threat to the top of its list of digital disruptions for which CIOs may not be prepared. It noted that “quantum computers have the potential to run massive amounts of calculations in parallel in seconds,” including cracking the complicated math problems on which today’s encryption systems depend.

At the same time, considerable confusion exists, even among experts, about the true potential of the quantum threat, the timeline for its advent, and the steps needed to protect a company’s future.

This guidebook answers key questions about how quantum technology itself, in the form of quantum random-number generators (QRNG) and quantum-key distribution (QKD), can provide secure solutions for addressing the quantum computer threat.

After explaining how QRNG and QKD work, the guidebook recommends that executives combine these quantum cryptographic solutions with other software-based, quantum-resistant applications that can deter future quantum computer attacks.

Finally, the guide shows how quantum science will determine the future of communication technology by making it safe, secure, and ready for the twenty-first century.

Business management guru Peter Drucker once posed the question, “Will the corporation survive?” One thing is certain: no corporation, agency, or enterprise can survive if its most important data and information are constantly and systematically vulnerable to attack and/or theft.

Employees, shareholders, investors, and the general public need to trust that company executives have made every effort to secure that data and information, now and in the future.

It is to help senior executives fulfill that trust and ensure peace of mind that this guidebook was written.

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